Meiji Shrine and Harajuku Street, Tokyo

Meiji Jingu

The Meiji Shrine is said to be the most important in Tokyo, dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Located in a 175-acre forest in the middle of the city, it has long, winding path surrounded by natural beauty. I find it to be quintessentially Japanese in its simplicity and elegance.

I've been here six years earlier. When I went, I thought I will never go back again, because it is such a long trek to get from the first gate to the shrine and I'm lazy. Since then I have forgotten the name of the shrine. Imagine my dread when we got off the train station and I saw this first gate. Suddenly the memories came flooding back.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

New fence.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

Old fence.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

Shinto shrines ask the gods for prosperity of sake brewers. In return brewers donate wine to the shrines for festivals and ceremonies. Meiji is one of only two shrines in Japan that looks after the entire country's sake production and receives barrels from all 1,800 manufacturers.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

These kazaridaru (decoration barrels) are for display only. They don't actually contain any sake because that would be wasteful.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

Mini globetrotters Kai and Amelia.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

After a hundred miles, we're here.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

It was a good day to go. We got to see a wedding.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

It really is beautiful.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

Harajuku Street

In complete contrast to Meiji, goth and doll-dressed teens hang out to be seen on Sunday afternoons just outside the shrine gates. This particular week was summer vacation, so there was no show other than this lone lolita, who I suspect is no longer a teen.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

The tale of two Harajukus. There are two entrances to Harajuku Street 30 feet apart from each other. One has chain boutiques and cool cafes, while the other has insanely overpriced used clothing and tsotchkes shops. I always forget which is which.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

Goth Kitty.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

Across Harajuku Street is Takeshita Street, a conveyor belt of black hair that should be avoided. Shops that line the street sell clothes and accessories for the goths and lolitas of Meiji Shrine or American-themed dessert stands.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla


Photos in this story were taken by Dr. Ricci Sylla.

Ricci is an ObGyn by profession, and an avid, snap-happy photographer at all other times. She likes taking pictures mostly of food, but since the recent population explosion in her family, cute nieces and nephews show up much more frequently in her Picasa files. She hearts cake, ice cream, macarons, cotton candy and fancy desserts! 

You can follow Ricci on Instagram.

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Meiji Jingu
1-1 Yoyogi-Kamizono-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-8857, Japan
www.meijijingu.or.jp